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The World’s Most Powerful Women: May 12

Good morning, WMPW readers! Queen Elizabeth forgot the mic, global car companies are getting better at promoting women, and the most powerful female hedge fund manager just cracked the list of top earners. Want to share some news about a remarkable woman? You can find me on Twitter at: @laurascohn. Have a great Thursday!


The Queen calls Chinese officials “very rude” Remember: the microphone might be on. Queen Elizabeth inadvertently told the world that she thought Chinese officials were “very rude” when President Xi Jinping visited the U.K. last year. The remarks, made to London police commander Lucy D’Orsi, were filmed by a royal cameraman and can be seen online. The queen must be mortified. Some political commentators say she should be applauded for her frankness. During the state visit between the two countries last year, all I read about was the ushering in of a “golden era” for relations between the U.K. and China. This is much more interesting. Financial Times


Driving business
Mary Barra broke through the top ranks of the global auto industry when she ascended to the top of GM more than two years ago. At competitors Renault-Nissan and Daimler, women aren’t in the driver’s seat, but an increasing number of them are holding manager-level jobs and board positions.
Automotive News Europe


Just say “non”
It’s been five years since the Dominique Strauss-Kahn sex scandal sparked lewd headlines, the imagination of late-night comics, and pledges that sexism would end in France. But just this week, after deputy parliamentary speaker Denis Baupin resigned following sexual harassment allegations, several hundred French politicians and activists published a petition denouncing sexual harassment in politics.
The Guardian


Coming to Cannes
Speaking of France, it’s time for Cannes. Along with the usual deal making and film watching, this year’s festival will include panels about women in film (one of my favorite topics) with commentary from a-listers such as Jodie Foster, Geena Davis, Susan Sarandon, and Salma Hayek.


Respect2Protect women
The female-founded “My Choices Foundation” is working to empower women and girls in India by fighting sex trafficking and domestic violence. It’s making progress. The firm’s award-winning Respect2Protect campaign ad—featuring a group of famous cricketers pledging to respect women—was seen by thousands of YouTube viewers, aired on national TV, and sparked discussions on Twitter and Facebook.
Live Mint


Parity Down Under
Things are looking up for female execs in Australia. One of the country’s retail giants, Woolworths, just appointed retail vet Kathee Tesija as a director. Women now make up half the board at the company, making it the second best listed firm in terms of female representation.
Sydney Morning Herald


Debating Dilma
After days of upheaval in Brazil, the fate of embattled President Dilma Rousseff may be decided soon. The Senate is debating whether it should start a formal impeachment process against Rousseff for allegedly violating budget laws, and it looks like it could end with her suspension from office. She denies the allegations. Stay tuned.


The $10.2 billion woman
Leda Braga, the most powerful female hedge fund manager in the world, just became the first female to crack the list of the 50 highest-earning managers in her field. Her Systematica Investments fund, with roughly $10.2 billion in assets, earned her about $60 million last year, ranking her 44th. Well done.


Liking Trump
Nearly three-quarters of the women in a recent poll say they don’t like Donald Trump. And the rest? The women who defend the Donald say he’s not sexist—he just likes to act as tough with women as he does with men.
New York Times


Hillary Clinton pledges to cap child care costs at 10% of income

Feds investigate sexism against female movie directors

Zaha Hadid exhibit, first since her death, to open in Venice
New York Times

New book, “How Women Decide,” argues that decisions by female execs are scrutinized more than those of men
New York Times

Why clothing retailers ignore most U.S. women



People in the West often want to see images that are about women and oppression and the veil. A lot of the photographic work caters to that but it’s not always the reality. On the ground there’s a whole other side to it. Behind the scenes people are just people.
— Beirut-born, award-winning photographer Rania Matar, whose photos are showing at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington